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Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child : Patty Cogen :

Facebook Twitter Youtube. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Every year, more and more Americans are expanding their families through international adoption. This book explains how to help a child adopted between the ages of six months and five years cope with change, bond with his or her new parents, become a part of the family, and develop a positive self-image that incorporates both American identity and ethnic origins. With advice on language and educational challenges and the development of self-control and independence, Cogen guides adoptive parents all the way through their children's teen years.

Country of Publication: US Dimensions cm : Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist. Ships in 7 to 10 business days. The evolution of European law reflects this aversion to adoption. English Common Law , for instance, did not permit adoption since it contradicted the customary rules of inheritance.

In the same vein, France's Napoleonic Code made adoption difficult, requiring adopters to be over the age of 50, sterile, older than the adopted person by at least 15 years, and to have fostered the adoptee for at least six years. For example, in the year , in a charter from the town of Lucca , three adoptees were made heirs to an estate. Like other contemporary arrangements, the agreement stressed the responsibility of the adopted rather than adopter, focusing on the fact that, under the contract, the adoptive father was meant to be cared for in his old age; an idea that is similar to the conceptions of adoption under Roman law.

Europe's cultural makeover marked a period of significant innovation for adoption. Without support from the nobility, the practice gradually shifted toward abandoned children.


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Abandonment levels rose with the fall of the empire and many of the foundlings were left on the doorstep of the Church. The Church's innovation, however, was the practice of oblation , whereby children were dedicated to lay life within monastic institutions and reared within a monastery. This created the first system in European history in which abandoned children did not have legal, social, or moral disadvantages.

As a result, many of Europe's abandoned and orphaned children became alumni of the Church, which in turn took the role of adopter. Oblation marks the beginning of a shift toward institutionalization , eventually bringing about the establishment of the foundling hospital and orphanage. As the idea of institutional care gained acceptance, formal rules appeared about how to place children into families: boys could become apprenticed to an artisan and girls might be married off under the institution's authority.

This system of apprenticeship and informal adoption extended into the 19th century, today seen as a transitional phase for adoption history. Under the direction of social welfare activists, orphan asylums began to promote adoptions based on sentiment rather than work; children were placed out under agreements to provide care for them as family members instead of under contracts for apprenticeship.

The next stage of adoption's evolution fell to the emerging nation of the United States. Rapid immigration and the American Civil War resulted in unprecedented overcrowding of orphanages and foundling homes in the mid-nineteenth century. Charles Loring Brace , a Protestant minister became appalled by the legions of homeless waifs roaming the streets of New York City. Brace considered the abandoned youth, particularly Catholics, to be the most dangerous element challenging the city's order.

The orphan trains eventually shipped an estimated , children from the urban centers of the East to the nation's rural regions. The hallmark of the period is Minnesota 's adoption law of which mandated investigation of all placements and limited record access to those involved in the adoption. During the same period, the Progressive movement swept the United States with a critical goal of ending the prevailing orphanage system.

The culmination of such efforts came with the First White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children called by President Theodore Roosevelt in , [33] where it was declared that the nuclear family represented "the highest and finest product of civilization" and was best able to serve as primary caretaker for the abandoned and orphaned.


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As late as , only two percent of children without parental care were in adoptive homes, with the balance in foster arrangements and orphanages. Less than forty years later, nearly one-third were in an adoptive home. Nevertheless, the popularity of eugenic ideas in America put up obstacles to the growth of adoption. Goddard who protested against adopting children of unknown origin, saying,. Now it happens that some people are interested in the welfare and high development of the human race; but leaving aside those exceptional people, all fathers and mothers are interested in the welfare of their own families.

The dearest thing to the parental heart is to have the children marry well and rear a noble family. How short-sighted it is then for such a family to take into its midst a child whose pedigree is absolutely unknown; or, where, if it were partially known, the probabilities are strong that it would show poor and diseased stock, and that if a marriage should take place between that individual and any member of the family the offspring would be degenerates.

The period to , the baby scoop era , saw rapid growth and acceptance of adoption as a means to build a family. Simultaneously, the scientific community began to stress the dominance of nurture over genetics, chipping away at eugenic stigmas. Taken together, these trends resulted in a new American model for adoption. Following its Roman predecessor, Americans severed the rights of the original parents while making adopters the new parents in the eyes of the law.

Two innovations were added: 1 adoption was meant to ensure the "best interests of the child;" the seeds of this idea can be traced to the first American adoption law in Massachusetts , [16] [23] and 2 adoption became infused with secrecy, eventually resulting in the sealing of adoption and original birth records by The origin of the move toward secrecy began with Charles Loring Brace who introduced it to prevent children from the Orphan Trains from returning to or being reclaimed by their parents. Brace feared the impact of the parents' poverty, in general, and their Catholic religion, in particular, on the youth.

This tradition of secrecy was carried on by the later Progressive reformers when drafting of American laws. The number of adoptions in the United States peaked in Likely contributing factors in the s and s include a decline in the fertility rate, associated with the introduction of the pill , the completion of legalization of artificial birth control methods, the introduction of federal funding to make family planning services available to the young and low income, and the legalization of abortion. In addition, the years of the late s and early s saw a dramatic change in society's view of illegitimacy and in the legal rights [46] of those born outside of wedlock.

In response, family preservation efforts grew [47] so that few children born out of wedlock today are adopted. Ironically, adoption is far more visible and discussed in society today, yet it is less common. The American model of adoption eventually proliferated globally. England and Wales established their first formal adoption law in The Netherlands passed its law in Sweden made adoptees full members of the family in West Germany enacted its first laws in The system does not involve fees, but gives considerable power to social workers whose decisions may restrict adoption to standardized families middle-age, medium to high income, heterosexual, Caucasian.

Although adoption is today practiced globally, the United States has the largest number of children adopted per live births. The table below provides a snapshot of Western adoption rates. Adoption in the United States still occurs at nearly three times those of its peers although the number of children awaiting adoption has held steady in recent years, hovering between , and , during the period to Adoptions can occur either between related family members, or unrelated individuals.

Historically, most adoptions occurred within a family. The most recent data from the U. Intra-family adoption can also occur through surrender, as a result of parental death, or when the child cannot otherwise be cared for and a family member agrees to take over.

Infertility is the main reason parents seek to adopt children they are not related to. These may include wanting to cement a new family following divorce or death of one parent, compassion motivated by religious or philosophical conviction, to avoid contributing to overpopulation out of the belief that it is more responsible to care for otherwise parent-less children than to reproduce, to ensure that inheritable diseases e.

Although there are a range of possible reasons, the most recent study of experiences of women who adopt suggests they are most likely to be 40—44 years of age, currently married, have impaired fertility, and childless. Although adoption is often described as forming a "forever" family, the relationship can be ended at any time. The legal termination of an adoption is called disruption.

It may also be called a failed adoption. After legal finalization, the disruption process is usually initiated by adoptive parents via a court petition and is analogous to divorce proceedings. Ad hoc studies, performed in the U. The wide range of values reflects the paucity of information on the subject and demographic factors such as age; it is known that teenagers are more prone to having their adoptions disrupted than young children. Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 26 countries, and in various sub-national territories.

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years

LGBT adoption may also be in the form of step-child adoption, wherein one partner in a same-sex couple adopts the biological child of the other partner. The biological relationship between a parent and child is important, and the separation of the two has led to concerns about adoption. The traditional view of adoptive parenting received empirical support from a Princeton University study of 6, adoptive, step, and foster families in the United States and South Africa from to ; the study indicated that food expenditures in households with mothers of non-biological children when controlled for income, household size, hours worked, age, etc.

Other studies provide evidence that adoptive relationships can form along other lines. A study evaluating the level of parental investment indicates strength in adoptive families, suggesting that parents who adopt invest more time in their children than other parents and concludes, " Noting that adoptees seemed to be more likely to experience problems such as drug addiction, the study speculated that adoptive parents might invest more in adoptees not because they favor them, but because they are more likely than genetic children to need the help.

Psychologists' findings regarding the importance of early mother-infant bonding created some concern about whether parents who adopt older infants or toddlers after birth have missed some crucial period for the child's development. However, research on The Mental and Social Life of Babies suggested that the "parent-infant system," rather than a bond between biologically related individuals, is an evolved fit between innate behavior patterns of all human infants and equally evolved responses of human adults to those infant behaviors.

Thus nature "ensures some initial flexibility with respect to the particular adults who take on the parental role. Beyond the foundational issues, the unique questions posed for adoptive parents are varied. They include how to respond to stereotypes, answering questions about heritage, and how best to maintain connections with biological kin when in an open adoption. Numerous suggestions have been made to substitute new lessons, e.

Adopting older children presents other parenting issues. This is a false economy as local authority care for these children is extremely expensive. Concerning developmental milestones, studies from the Colorado Adoption Project examined genetic influences on adoptee maturation, concluding that cognitive abilities of adoptees reflect those of their adoptive parents in early childhood but show little similarity by adolescence, resembling instead those of their biological parents and to the same extent as peers in non-adoptive families. Similar mechanisms appear to be at work in the physical development of adoptees.

Danish and American researchers conducting studies on the genetic contribution to body mass index found correlations between an adoptee's weight class and his biological parents' BMI while finding no relationship with the adoptive family environment. Moreover, about one-half of inter-individual differences were due to individual non-shared influences. These differences in development appear to play out in the way young adoptees deal with major life events.

In the case of parental divorce, adoptees have been found to respond differently from children who have not been adopted. While the general population experienced more behavioral problems, substance use, lower school achievement, and impaired social competence after parental divorce, the adoptee population appeared to be unaffected in terms of their outside relationships, specifically in their school or social abilities.

Several factors affect the decision to release or raise the child. White adolescents tend to give up their babies to non-relatives, whereas black adolescents are more likely to receive support from their own community in raising the child and also in the form of informal adoption by relatives. Research suggests that women who choose to release their babies for adoption are more likely to be younger, enrolled in school, and have lived in a two-parent household at age 10, than those who kept and raised their babies. There is limited research on the consequences of adoption for the original parents, and the findings have been mixed.

One study found that those who released their babies for adoption were less comfortable with their decision than those who kept their babies. However, levels of comfort over both groups were high, and those who released their child were similar to those who kept their child in ratings of life satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and positive future outlook for schooling, employment, finances, and marriage.

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However, these feelings decreased significantly from one year after birth to the end of the second year. More recent research found that in a sample of mothers who had released their children for adoption four to 12 years prior, every participant had frequent thoughts of their lost child. For most, thoughts were both negative and positive in that they produced both feelings of sadness and joy. Those who experienced the greatest portion of positive thoughts were those who had open, rather than closed or time-limited mediated adoptions.

In another study that compared mothers who released their children to those who raised them, mothers who released their children were more likely to delay their next pregnancy, to delay marriage, and to complete job training. However, both groups reached lower levels of education than their peers who were never pregnant. Adolescent mothers who released their children were more likely to reach a higher level of education and to be employed than those who kept their children.

They also waited longer before having their next child. Furthermore, there is a lack of longitudinal data that may elucidate long-term social and psychological consequences for birth parents who choose to place their children for adoption. Previous research on adoption has led to assumptions that indicate that there is a heightened risk in terms of psychological development and social relationships for adoptees. Yet, such assumptions have been clarified as flawed due to methodological failures.

But more recent studies have been supportive in indicating more accurate information and results about the similarities, differences and overall lifestyles of adoptees. Evidence about the development of adoptees can be supported in newer studies. It can be said that adoptees, in some respect, tend to develop differently from the general population.

This can be seen in many aspects of life, but usually can be found as a greater risk around the time of adolescence. For example, it has been found that many adoptees experience difficulty in establishing a sense of identity. There are many ways in which the concept of identity can be defined. It is true in all cases that identity construction is an ongoing process of development, change and maintenance of identifying with the self.

Research has shown that adolescence is a time of identity progression rather than regression. Typically associated with a time of experimentation, there are endless factors that go into the construction of one's identity.

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years

As well as being many factors, there are many types of identities one can associate with. Some categories of identity include gender, sexuality, class, racial and religious, etc. For transracial and international adoptees, tension is generally found in the categories of racial, ethnic and national identification.

Because of this, the strength and functionality of family relationships play a huge role in its development and outcome of identity construction. Transracial and transnational adoptees tend to develop feelings of a lack of acceptance because of such racial, ethnic, and cultural differences.


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  • Therefore, exposing transracial and transnational adoptees to their "cultures of origin" is important in order to better develop a sense of identity and appreciation for cultural diversity. For example, based upon specific laws and regulations of the United States, the Child Citizen Act of makes sure to grant immediate U. Identity is defined both by what one is and what one is not.

    Adoptees born into one family lose an identity and then borrow one from the adopting family.